The Lab School of Washington

4759 Reservoir Road, NW 20007 Washington, DC
Phone: 202-965-6600
You Have Advantages. The Lab School Reveals Your Strengths.

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  • Katherine Schantz 

    Head of School
    Kalamazoo College - B.A.
    Harvard University - Ed.M.

Families, Friends, and Prospective Families,

If you knew nothing about The Lab School of Washington and met a teacher, parent, student, or anyone else whose life had been touched by the school, you would hear words and descriptions like creative, life-changing, nothing else like it, innovative, the leader in its field, transformative, the place that saved my child’s life.

I see these words and descriptions played out every day at The Lab School; even after six years as the Head of School, I am continually awed by the caliber, capacity, and character of our students. Not a day goes by without a student teaching me something I never knew before, challenging me to think in new ways, and approach my work with new insights.

Through small classroom settings and multi-sensory, arts-infused learning, the teachers at Lab teach to transform our students’ differences into advantages. And before the learning even starts, students quickly come to understand that they are not broken. At Lab, they feel safe and are given the freedom and guidance to flourish into their best selves.

Now, almost 50 years later, The Lab School continues to be a leader in the field of learning differences (often referred to as learning disabilities) education. It has a history as a pioneer in the field and a determination to continue to boldly trail blaze. Lab’s untiring innovation and groundbreaking methodologies have not only lifted our own students, they have inspired better teaching across the globe.
Focusing on students with dyslexia, ADHD, and other language-based learning differences, The Lab School has two campuses: the Elementary division on Foxhall Road and the Intermediate, Junior High School, and High School divisions on the Reservoir Road campus. In 2016, the school will have a new, inspired High School building designed specifically for the needs of students with learning differences followed by a renovated and reimagined Middle School and an expanded Theater and Arts Wing.
Our students learn differently and that means that some skills like reading and spelling are harder to acquire. You may worry that this puts them at a disadvantage. I, on the other hand, believe that learning differently can be an advantage. My greatest joy is seeing each student’s advantages flourish into highly valued strengths with the help of Lab’s extraordinary education.
Katherine Schantz
Head of School

About Katherine Schantz

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    Education and Experience

    Katherine Schantz studied Education with a concentration in Counseling and Consulting Psychology at Harvard University, earning her Master’s degree and pursuing her doctoral studies. Her undergraduate degree in Economics is from Kalamazoo College in Michigan.
    From 2000-2009 Katherine was Head of School at Delaware Valley Friends School in Paoli, Pennsylvania. During her tenure, she co-authored with the school’s Board two strategic plans. She also introduced external and internal administration councils; managed a significant increase in school enrollment; refined and expanded the summer school program; enriched the fine arts department; guided renovation of the humanities wing; developed collaborations with Bryn Mawr College and People’s Light and Theatre; and cultivated significant contributions from major donors for both the annual fund and endowment.

    Katherine Schantz served as Associate Head of School (1999-2000) and Academic Dean (1992-1999) at The Kildonan School in Amenia, New York, where she developed the school’s first Middle School program and coordinated community service activities. She was also called as an expert witness, testifying on behalf of school funding.

    A teacher as well as an administrator, Katherine has taught psychology and language arts at the secondary school level. As a teaching fellow at Harvard she taught Developmental Neuropsychology; Children and Law; Psychological Assessment; Emotional Development; Human Motivation; Psychopathology; Psychotherapy; and Introduction to Psychology. She has also tutored high school students hospitalized for affective and eating disorders and has conducted educational assessments.

    Schantz currently belongs to a consortium of heads of independent schools across the country working to develop the most effective practices and environments for students with specific learning disabilities and ADHD. Her interest and expertise is in learning from neuroscience to develop effective educational practices for students with learning disabilities and ADHD, and fostering an arts-infused educational model as access to learning and identifying significant student talents. She has spoken at educational and mental health conferences on topics including neuropsychology, learning strategies, executive functioning and preparing students with learning disabilities for college.

    Relevant Research

    • “Three Levels of Learning on One Classroom” (2007): Brain is the Boss Symposium, Penn State University Great Valley Campus, Malvern, PA
    • “A Strengths’ Model for Executive Functioning” (2007): National Business Officers Seminar, Delaware Valley Friends School, Paoli, PA
    • “Preparing Students with Learning Differences for College” (2005): Weingarten Learning Differences Conference, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
    • "Strategies for Students with Learning Differences in the Public Schools" (1999): Dutchess County Mental Health Association, Poughkeepsie, NY
    • "Realistic Accommodations for Learning Differences in Traditional Schools" (1997): Small Boarding School Conference, Lynchburg, VA
    • "Dynamic Interpretation of Pairs Therapy" (1987): Harvard Summer Institute, Boston, MA
    • "Development of Close Relationships: Implications From Therapy With Two Early Adolescent Boys," R. Selman, B. Caplan, K. Schantz & L. Schultz, Packer & Addison (Eds.) Entering the Circle: Hermeneutic Investigation in Psychology (1989)
    Doctoral Research
    • Validity of Discrepancy Analysis for Identifying Learning Disabilities (1991-93): Harvard University
The Difference is Extraordinary

The Lab School of Washington

4759 Reservoir Road, NW | Washington, DC 20007-1921 | 202-965-6600